Monday, May 31, 2010

Hail To The Soldiers

Hail to the soldiers that have provided us our freedom and comfortable lifestyle.  May our current troops come home safely.

I grew up in a house with a marine where the Marine Core Hymn was whistled every morning.  God bless them all.

Robert F. Barrell - Korea
PRB - A Wannabe Marine
BEB - Everyone beware!
From the Halls of Montezuma

To the shores of Tripoli

We fight our country's battles

In the air, on land and sea

First to fight for right and freedom

And to keep our honor clean;

We are proud to claim the title

Of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze

From dawn to setting sun;

We have fought in every clime and place

Where we could take a gun.

In the snow of far-off Northern lands

And in sunny tropic scenes;

You will find us always on the job --

The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps

Which we are proud to serve;

In many a strife we've fought for life

And never lost our nerve.

If the Army and the Navy

Ever look on Heaven's scenes,

They will find the streets are guarded

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The End of The Keynesian Era

"In terms of the world, Greece has no economic meaning. Greece is way out in the decimals. Economic problems of California are certainly larger. Yet, no one is buying Gold because of the end of the California dream. No one is talking about the dissolution of the U.S. because of the economic collapse of California, Illinois, and New Jersey.  Where Greece is important is in ending the decades of economic damage done by Keynesian dogma. Greece had become one of the great success stories for Keynesianism. The nation lived off of debt, and illusions of wealth. Borrowed money was used to pay government workers and reward pensioners after a few short years of work. Bond markets suddenly discovered that Greece may never be able on its own to repay that debt. Hyman Minsky would have referred to today’s governments as Ponzi borrowers. Bond market did as it should with near bankrupt Keynesian economies. It turned off the moneyThe panic, or crisis if there is one, is that governments across Europe, and the Obama Regime, can not accept the idea of markets disciplining governments. Imagine the panic in halls of government all around the world as politicians ponder governing without borrowed money with which to buy votes. Government debt is nothing more than legitimized vote buying by politicians. That, in fact, is the essence of Keynesian dogma, and it is the real crisis about which politicians are so concerned.  Like all great economic crises, this one too will probably be a disappointment. Economic world will not end, though the economic fantasy land of Keynesianism may indeed wilt. That, however, will be on the back side of the crisis. Today we seem to still be on the front side of the crisis. Crises, like all hills, mole or real, have a front side and a back side. Front side is all emotional and panic filled. On the front side are created outrageous forecasts in order to spur web site traffic."
Source: Ned Schmidt, May 19, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pothole Ownership

I recently read this quote referencing former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu's advice for his son, Mitch, the newly elected mayor:

"He did tell me, you know, just to kind of keep my head focused, we're talking about all these federal issues, all this big stuff. And he said, you know, all these folks like you and they're happy about you and that's great. But on Monday, you own that pothole."
New Orleans New Mayor, Mitch Landrieu

It's a shorter version of my Last Call For Alcohol parable. 

The pothole list is getting long: economy, immigration, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, BP, Greece, and the stock market.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stop To Think

"I took the money, I spiked your drink, You miss too much these days if you stop to think."
U2 - "Until The End Of The World"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Violence In Jamaica Mon

While Jamaica is economically insignificant on a worldwide scale, recent events align with the downward trend in mass social mood.  The angry mob takes on the governments security forces.  Thailand, Greece, and Jamaica are the most recent examples.

"At least 26 people were said to be dead after a third day of violence in Kingston, Jamaica, as security forces assaulted the slum stronghold of armed groups believed to be defending accused Jamaican drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke.  Mr. Coke, the son of one of Jamaica's most influential gang leaders, is fighting extradition to the U.S., where he is wanted on drug and gun-trafficking charges. One member of the security forces had been killed and seven injured in the confrontation that broke out following Prime Minister Bruce Golding's decision to extradite Mr. Coke, according to local media reports. Mr. Golding, perhaps fearing violence, had wavered on the extradition, but issued a warrant for Mr. Coke's arrest last week. Soldiers were on guard in Kingston, Jamaica, Monday. Armed police and soldiers barged past barricades into the capital's most violent slums, clashing with defenders of a gang leader sought by the U.S.  Shooting, looting and attacks on Jamaican police soon followed. On Sunday, the government declared a state of emergency."
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quite A Difference

This evening while scanning Google News I noticed two headlines "Art Linkletter dies at 97" and "What Will Idol Be Without Simon Cowell".  I immediately thought how different today's TV personalities are.  Mr. Linkletter was such a kind gentleman and today's hero, Simon Cowell, is the "big nasty" guy that "votes people off of the island".  News used to be delivered by gentlemen like Cronkite and Brinkley, now we have people like O'Reilly and Olbermann screaming at us.  News used to feel neutral and informative, but now it feels very biased and political.  Giving someone "the last word" wasn't required back then.  Will this new cycle bring back "the gentlemen" in us all?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Iraqi Robbers Get It

The Iraqi robbers get it!

BAGHDAD — "Masked gunmen attacked gold shops in Baghdad Tuesday, killing 15 people before they fled with a large quantity of gold, police and hospital officials said.  The assailants came to the southwestern neighborhood of Baiyaa in five cars shortly before noon, their faces covered with traditional Arab headscarves. They first set off a roadside bomb near the shops, killing four bystanders and wounding three, city police officials said.  Then they opened fire on 12 shops, killing nine gold shop owners or their workers and two bystanders. They threw percussion grenades into the shops as a distraction, then fled, police said."
Source: Houston Chronicle

Casey On China

"China is going to blow up. The amount of currency the Chinese government has created to keep going is a potential time bomb. And they’re sitting on a potential US$2 trillion in worthless paper."
Doug Casey, at the Crisis and Opportunity Summit - April 30, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Roots of Racism

My son's history class has been studying WWII the past month and one student recommended the movie "American History X" to understand how the Nazi mentality carries forward today in the organization known as the Skinheads.  The movie is extremely well done and a "muscled up" Edward Norton does a phenomenal job in the lead role. 

The movie does an excellent job of illustrating the evolution of hatred, racism, and xenophobia in the ideologically and emotionally weak. It's easy to "herd" a group of lost souls seeking some place to displace their anger and personal frustration.

After watching the movie, I pondered what the trend might be in hate groups.  The Google Elves tell me this:

"From white power skinheads decrying "President Obongo" at a racist gathering in rural Missouri, to neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen hurling epithets at Latino immigrants from courthouse steps in Oklahoma, to anti-Semitic black separatists calling for death to Jews on bustling street corners in several East Coast cities, hate group activity in the U.S. was disturbing and widespread throughout 2008, as the number of hate groups operating in America continued to rise. Last year, 926 hate groups were active in the U.S., up more than 4% from 888 in 2007. That's more than a 50% increase since 2000, when there were 602 groups.  As in recent years, hate groups were animated by the national immigration debate. But two new forces also drove them in 2008: the worsening recession, and Barack Obama's successful campaign to become the nation's first black president. Officials reported that Obama had received more threats than any other presidential candidate in memory, and several white supremacists were arrested for saying they would assassinate him or allegedly plotting to do so.  At the same time, law enforcement officials reported a marked swelling of the extreme-right "sovereign citizens" movement that wreaked havoc in the 1990s with its "paper terrorism" tactics. Adherents are infamous for filing bogus property liens and orchestrating elaborate financial ripoffs.  Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn't just the usual suspects from the white supremacist underworld who sought to exploit the country's economic turmoil and political strife. A key 2008 hate group trend was the increasing militancy of the extremist fringe of the Hebrew Israelite movement, whose adherents believe that Jews are creatures of the devil and that whites deserve death or slavery.  These radical black supremacists have no love for Barack Obama, calling him a "house nigger" and a puppet of Israel. They preach to inner-city blacks that evil Jews are solely responsible for the recession. The rhetoric of white-skinned hate group leaders in 2008 was equally alarming. Last September, for example the cover of National Socialist magazine depicted then-presidential nominee Barack Obama in the crosshairs of a scope, with the headline 'Kill This Nigger?' "
Source: When Giants Fall: An Economic Roadmap for the End of the American Era , Michael Panzner

 This chart from the Southern Poverty Law Center indicates a steady upward trend of hate groups since 2000.

The chart above aligns well with the mass social mood cycle model below with 2000 as the beginning of a new cycle.

The chart below of the Dow/Gold Ratio provides a longer historical reference.

When mammals get fearful, they herd.  Hate groups provide great shelter and support for the fearful and angry.  Keep your eyes open and ears to the ground as this thing unfolds.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Korean Conflict

So where does this Korean conflict lead?

"Pyongyang rejected the claim as a "fabrication" and threatened war if sanctions were imposed. The international report found a North Korean submarine's torpedo sank the South Korean navy ship, causing the deaths of 46 sailors. China urged restraint and did not criticise the North. The US administration described the sinking as an "act of aggression" that challenged peace."
Source: BBC News

"Rekindle,'s all the same thing. My prediction on this one was that when the tide lowers, it's easy to pick a fight with an old foe. It usually takes a small spark."
Random Roving, March 8, 2009

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cascading Bubbles

For reasons unknown, I've never really liked the term "bubble", but due to a lack of a better term, I'll use it today to illustrate a point.  I've always liked the phrase "overshoot and collapse" which is used in the biological realm to explain the rapid growth and subsequent crash in the population of a given species.  That's a subject for a later post.

I thought it would be interesting to analyze the impact of the money supply through time on various "bubbles".  The chart below illustrates quite beautifully how the money supply (M3-black dash) impacts the rise and fall of all markets.  The chart compares 5 asset types: technology, financials, oil, homebuilding, and wheat.  These all have experienced drastic "rise and falls" since the mid to late 90's.  Many commodities followed the exact pattern, but I used oil and wheat as two examples.  Click on the chart for a larger view.

Observations that can be made:

  1. M3 (money supply) rises in the early 80's (Reagan), flattens in late 80's (Bush I), rapidly accelerates in 1995 (Clinton), and keeps rising rapidly after 2000 (Bush II).

  2. Reagan pulls us out of the doldrums not by magical things called "trickle down" or "supply side", but by turning on the "money supply accelerator" in the early 80's.  Note the M3 Rate of Change curve on the bottom.  A trending up curve indicates a rapidly increasing money supplly while the downtrend is decelerating.

  3. The Great Maestro, Alan Greenspan, pulls off the accelerator in 1988 and Bush I loses re-election.

  4. Note that during the "flat" M3 from 1988-1995, the markets are aligned and flat. 

  5. In 1995, Clinton leads the public to believe that he magically makes the deficit disappear and balances the budget.  Meanwhile, the money supply starts a significant upward climb.  Note the M3 Rate of Change on the bottom of the graph.  It rises rapidly.

  6. Subsequent with the rapid rise in M3 in 1995, the markets go into "chaos" mode.  The money supply drives the financials and technology through the roof.  Note the steepness of the curves after 1995 in all sectors.  The end result is the DotCom mania.  Now we understand where all of that crazy investment and venture capital money came from!

  7. DotCom crashes only to see the "credit bubble" move into financials, homebuilding, and commodities (oil/wheat).  2001 marks a "new beginning".  Same game, but different sectors.

  8. The markets all align in late 2008 subsequent with the steepest rise in M3 Rate of Change.  Then they ALL come crashing down.  As Robert Prechter with Elliott Wave International has stated, "all the same".  Equities and commodities crash together in perfect synchrony.

  9. Money supply has significant impact on the markets.  While the Federal Reserve was supposedly created to help "nudge" the market when it needed assistance, the contrary is presented from this 30 year history.  After 1995, it looks more like a heroin junky flying up and down.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dow Jones Industrial Average Gold Ratio - An Update

Well my post yesterday morning about the "flash crash" was timely.  The market "flashed" again.  For you "techies", the DJIA broke through the 200 day moving average.  This typically indicates that there is trouble ahead.  Today could likely be another wild ride!

I haven't posted a DJIA/Gold ratio chart in some time.  Here's an update from yesterday:

Technical Update on Gold presented this updated chart on gold. Note the textbook "head and shoulders" pattern that I alerted you to in July, 2009 when gold was at $930/ounce. They are projecting the next target at $1298/ounce. A little financial malaise in Ireland might be the next "global spark".


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flash Crash

Yes, The Pundits have coined a name for the 1000 point market crash two weeks ago, "Flash Crash". Yes it occurred in a "flash" and that's what really concerns me most. We've heard many explanations for it, but no one seems concerned that the market can change so abruptly without any warning.

This geologist is noting the event as a "tremor" with the major quake still upon us. What really is shocking is that stock trades that occurred during the "flash" have been cancelled. Is this really a free open market or is it controlled by "handlers"? You probably know what I think. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Political Leopards

Specter, the "political leopard", became the latest victim of the downward trending mass social mood.  You can run, but you can't hide from the angry mob.  It appears that the media is starting to understand the concept of "mass social mood".

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — "Centrism and just plain survival made Arlen Specter part of the nation's political fabric for nearly half a century, his cancer-fighting, party-switching story as much about evading death as writing laws. But the very adaptability that helped Specter, 80, endure turned politically fatal Tuesday, when the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat lost his party's Pennsylvania primary. His defeat raised a painful truth: He could not have won a sixth Senate term as a member of either party given the anti-incumbent mood of 2010."
Source: Associated Press

On a related note, Ron Paul's son, Dr. Rand Paul achieves victory in Kentucky.  Is this a sign that Ron Paul could make a strong run in 2012??

Shiller's Animal Spirits

Robert Shiller on the state of the human mind and "what drives the whole thing".

"Economist don't like to speak about psychology. We believe that it's fundamental."
Robert Shiller

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gold Layaway

It looks like gold is going "mainstream". Note the description "cash-strapped" below. The "reverse mortgage" and home equity loans have played out, now we're monetizing whatever is sitting around in the house. Will Ebay have a new boom as the cash-strapped consumer starts selling their stuff??

CHICAGO (Reuters) - "Sears Holdings Corp , which expanded its layaway program to help cash-strapped consumers pay for purchases during the recession, is now helping its customers exchange their jewelry for cash as gold prices soar. The new service, available at the jewelry departments of Sears and Kmart stores, allows customers to send their gold and silver items to Pro Gold Network, a company that buys precious metals from consumers."
Source: ABC News

First my buddy Magoo bought 3 Krugerrands last week, and now the retail chains are tapping into the consumer's assets for cash. Is this a sign of a "golden top", or have we only just begun? I'm sticking with my prediction that at "the bottom", the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be equal in price to ONE ounce of gold. Will that be 6000, 5000, 4000, or 3000? I don't know. I'm sticking with 4750.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Prechter's Perspective

"The greatest extreme in positive social mood in centuries has led to the greatest expansion of credit in history. The level of outstanding debt is unsustainable and will be unserviceable and unpayable in the deepest depression in 300 years. The trend toward negative social mood that has been in progress since 2000 and which is about to accelerate will continue to curtail lending and lead to a tidal wave of defaults and a terrific deflation. The amount of outstanding credit today is so large that systemwide defaults could lead to as much as an 80-90% decline in the volume of dollar-denominated credits worldwide. Prices of everything, including corporate shares, would fall to reflect this change in the total supply of credit. In such an environment, surviving dollars and dollar credits, representing the denominator of the DJIA, will rise in value, and the Dow-along with everything else not used as money - will fall in dollar price."
Robert Prechter, Elliott Wave Theorist - May 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust, UK Style

"After days of disquiet, big beast outgoing ministers including Jack Straw, Andy Burnham, Bob Ainsworth, Liam Byrne and Sadiq Khan made their opposition clear at a crisis meeting of the Cabinet which followed Mr Brown's shocking resignation on Monday."
Source: Daily Mail UK

Shocking to who? The theory of a negative mass social mood applies worldwide. All incumbents are in for a rough ride.

"Politicians ratings will continue to fall aligning with a continued decline in mass social mood. Incumbents beware."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Worse Than We Thought

Headlines for two recent mega-events, BP's oil spill and Greece's meltdown, caught my eye. Initial reports both used the phrase "worse than we thought". I believe that this phrase will be used and over-used a lot in the coming years. The hype and the facades are presented by the media on a daily basis, but the true facts and hard numbers go unreported and unnoticed. When reality rears its ugly face, we are told "it was worse than we thought". Thank you for the advance warning. Once again, I advise that you do your own research. Some examples below.

"Oil spill off US coast is worse than we thought, BP admits - BP has conceded that the extent of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico may be much worse than originally thought."
Source: Times Online

"Greece's budget deficit worse than first thought - Greece had a far larger budget deficit than expected last year and the figures may yet get worse, according to the European Union's statistics office."
Source: BBC

"Obama Administration's Summers: Economy is worse than we thought - Despite bracing for the worst, a comprehensive look at the official hard data has provided another dose of the sobering economic reality for the young Obama administration."
Source: Blogging Stocks

The economy "is worse, quite frankly, than everyone thought it was," Lawrence Summers, President Obama's chief economic advisor, said Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press.

"Worse than we thought - Report warns of 4C rise by 2100 - The world's scientists yesterday gave their starkest warning yet that a failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions will bring devastating climate change within a few decades."
Source: The Guardian

"S&P: Housing crisis worse than we thought 2 months ago - Standard & Poor's has downgraded Washington Mutual and stated that the housing situation is worse than it believed at the beginning of the year (when it believed the housing situation was pretty bad). S&P sez, according to AP."
Source: The Baltimore Sun

"True Colors (Even Worse Than We Thought)" - It seems that ugly crowd of protestors harassing members of Congress in the Capitol complex this afternoon got even uglier than we thought. As noted earlier, in addition to menacing behavior toward multiple members of Congress, one protestor called Rep. Barney Frank a "faggot", a taunt greeted by laughter from fellow protestors."
Source: TPM

"Tech Addiction Worse than We Thought - Ever felt like you wouldn't be able to live without your smartphone or daily access to media and communications technology? Well new research shows that the "crackberry" effect may be real, as people deprived of their gadgets may undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to those of drug addiction."
Source: Thomas Net News

"High Fructose Corn Syrup: Worse Than We Thought? - High fructose corn syrup, which has long been considered an equivalent to table sugar, might lead those who eat it to gain weight faster."
Source: That's Fit

"Even worse than we thought - three economists at the Inter-American Development Bank have a new paper that tries to quantify the damage caused by last month's earthquake in Haiti."
Source: The Economist

"Sea level rise: It's worse than we thought - Jakobshavn has doubled its speed in the past 15 years, draining increasing amounts of ice from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean, and Holland, an oceanographer at New York University, has been trying to find out why."
Source: New Scientist

"Analyst: Downturn in cruise business worse than we thought - Another prominent Wall Street analyst is turning more bearish on the cruise business, noting that pricing is dropping at a rapid rate."
Source: USA Today

Monday, May 10, 2010

Afghanistan's Export Economy

Some amazing facts reported by CBS News:

"Afghanistan produces the raw opium used to make 90 percent of the world's heroin. International groups estimate that only about 2 percent of Afghanistan's drug production was blocked from leaving the country in 2008 for markets in Central Asia and Europe. Separately, Afghanistan is not only the world's largest supplier of opium, it also is the global leader in hashish production, the United Nations said Wednesday. It estimates that 24,700 to 59,300 acres of cannabis are grown in Afghanistan every year and that this is used to make an estimated 1,500 to 3,500 tons of hashish annually. 'While other countries have even larger cannabis cultivation, the astonishing yield of the Afghan cannabis crop ... makes Afghanistan the world's biggest producer of hashish,' UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costa said in a statement."

And we've been there how long????

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Xenophobia Enters The Political Process

Xenophobia moves into the political election domain. George Wallace would be proud.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Power of Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is all the talk these days.  Do you really think that they are going to be punished?  If so, you'll have to read this post again:

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Golden Update

My buddy DM described this blog last year as "it's about gold and other stuff". Well, I haven't provided a technical update in some time. I went back and did some post-analysis on my last prediction and it turned out darn good. I dumped most of my "GLD" ETF in November, but kept the real stuff.

Gold Prices - Last 12 Months (Source Kitco)

I believe that Gold has built a very nice base in preparation for its next major move. Make a pilot purchase of the ETF "GLD".

The Stages of Truth

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self evident.”
Arthur Schopenhenauer, German Philosopher

I would say that my recommendations to buy gold that started in May 2000 are now approaching stage 3.  Stay tuned.

"You better start buying up that gold and oil!!!"   September 24, 2003

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ride 'Em Cowboy

A wild ride it was today....Opa!

Paying The Greek Piper

The Greek's sent the US markets into a tailspin today! If you've been reading this blog, you first heard about Greece's problems on 12/12/2008.

From Larry Edelson at Weiss Research:
"For decades now, reasonable people have warned that the European Union’s insane government spending and skyrocketing debt could not go on forever. The day would inevitably come when Europe would have to pay the piper. In Greece, that day is today! The nation is in absolute chaos: Hundreds of thousands of government workers are staging their third general strike of the year to protest the huge spending cuts the government must make to avoid defaulting on its debt. The entire country is paralyzed. Air traffic controllers, train and ferry operators, teachers and even shopkeepers have walked off of their jobs. Hospitals are working with emergency medical staff only. And despite the more than 1,500 police that have been deployed to prevent violence in Athens, there’s blood in the streets:
-A firebomb at an Athens bank killed at least three people yesterday.
-Young thugs are hurling gasoline bombs at stores, businesses and government buildings, setting fires throughout Athens.
-As many as 60,000 union demonstrators have attempted to storm the parliament building, hurling rocks at riot police, who pelted them with tear gas, stun grenades and baton charges.
-In Thessaloniki, 20,000 protesters marched through the city center, smashing the windows of stores and restaurants."

"THIS is what we’ve been warning you about. THIS is what a sovereign debt crisis looks like. THIS is the kind of chaos — and worse — that euro-zone leaders are now terrified will spread across the continent."

SOURCE: Weiss Research Inc.

Opa - Part 3

The Greeks continue rioting. As I've said before, the Tea Parties are a bunch of "white button downs" holding posters. My "favorite Republican" took his 10 year old son out of school to attend one. I told him that when the real protests arrive, you won't be taking the family. Stay tuned.

"In the U.S., the Tea Parties mentioned above were rather like, well, tea parties. In France, the demonstrations are large, but the tone is not yet violent. According to Time Magazine, millions marched in that country bu the disruption was a "comparatively modest nuisance.' In London, the "Financial Fools Day' protest against the G-20 was much larger and more focused than the April 2000 demonstration agains the IMF. And this time things turned ugly fast: 'At first, jazz bands, jugglers and drummers lent a carnival atmosphere to the gathering, but within an hour, anger at the collapse of the financial system turned to violence.' But the protest is a long way from the violent bear market finale that Elliott Wave Financial Forecast was referring to in 2000. At this point, the movement is just 'a vague attack on consumerism, coupled with anti-capitalist rhetoric,' which Daniel Finkelstein of the London Times points out is ' a total dead end,' revolution-wise. When the bottom is at hand or already in place, the rage will be greater and more widespreead, and there will be no question what the rebellion is about."

Robert Prechter - Elliott Wave Financial Forecast - April 2009

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

"Does the British Airways strike signal a "change in trend"? The tea partiers probably think so. Stay tuned."
Random Roving, "Three Strikes You're Out", March 27, 2010

"Greeks walked off the job on Wednesday in a nationwide strike against the government's austerity measures, as Germany's chancellor said that Europe's future depended on helping Greece emerge from its debt crisis. No planes, trains or ferries operated in Greece, as hospitals, schools and public offices were also shut, according to media reports. The nation's two leading unions, representing the public and the private sectors, have called the strike to protest what they see as unfair and harsh measures aimed at lowering the soaring Greek deficit"
Source: Market Watch

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kent State - 40 Years Ago

The Kent State University riot and tragedy occurred forty years ago today.  Are we in that cycle again?

The Pakistani Boogeyman

"A U.S. drone attack targeting militants in Pakistan's troubled northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan has killed six of them, media reports quoting intelligence officials said.  It was the fifth such attack by pilot-less U.S. aircraft in the area in the past 17 days."

"For a White House that has been seeking a new relationship with the Islamic world, the prospect of another terrorist plot that appears to be connected to Pakistan will present a series of complicated -- and politically treacherous -- issues to confront."
SOURCE: The Washington Post

Is it a coincidence, or do we always find a culprit sourced from the country that we want to justify military action against?  The "Christmas Day Pants Bomber" was from Nigeria, but somehow we immediately set our targets on Yemen.  Is it a coincidence that Yemen sits just south of our major oil supplier, Saudi Arabia?  It also has the Gulf of Aden off its coast where large oil tankers and pirates hang out?  Have you heard of the Bab El-Mandab?  Take a moment to understand the "chokepoints".

Now we confirm a Pakistani male linked to the Times Square incident.  For the past month, we've been bombarding Pakistan with missiles fired from our military drones.  Is there a correlation?

"How con-VEEN-ient!"
The Church Lady - Saturday Night Live

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Black Swans and Black Gold

Another "Black Swan" is heading for Louisiana. Just when my home state was really starting to feel it's "mojo" again. Just a few weeks ago, the New York Times declared that the New Orleans comeback was for real. A Superbowl victory and a new hot HBO show called "Treme".

The oil spill off the coast of Louisiana is growing daily with no confirmed short term solution. The Valdez had a finite volume of oil on board. This well is flowing from an oil reservoir that could produce for forty years.

Last Sunday I was watching the memorial for the deceased miners. Within one week, another energy catastrophe is upon us. The only good thing that can come from these events is that our nation starts a dialogue on an energy policy. The oil/gas industry has discovered a staggering amount of natural gas over the past five years. Natural gas powered eighteen-wheelers and government vehicles sounds like a "no brainer". The coal lobby might just be too powerful. We'll see. Some proactive behavior will be required.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Apple Flash Mob

A few weeks ago I made a post regarding the emerging phenomenon known as "flash mobs".  It appears that Apple is dealing with a different type of "flash mob".  The Flash Mob in this case wants Flash technology displayed on Apple products.  Steve Jobs recently wrote a missive on why they won't adopt Adobe's technology.

My perspective on why Apple failed to be the dominant PC of the 80's was the fact that "it didn't play well with others".  Apple has always focused heavily on "proprietary technology" and a "must be invented here" mentality.  That cost them dearly in the 80's and 90's.  Proprietary formats for their music on iTunes is another example.  Technology is about integration.  Time will tell if it bites them again.

An entire article about the saga: